What is the Actual Monetary Value of a Link?

The value of a link

How much is a link worth? I mean, if you were to put a monetary value, a dollar figure, on a link, then how much is it worth? There are several ways to put a value on a link from one website to another. If it’s a “good link” with a lot of value, then people will be clicking on that link, going to a website, and then purchasing something (or filling out a form and becoming a lead). We can calculate traffic, how many people clicked on a link, and how much they bought. So, a link on a certain website can potentially be given a value. A dollar figure. We know how much it costs to get a lead for a website. We can do the calculation, especially if the traffic is from paid search, such as from Google Ads.

But what about the cost to build a link? What if that link is not a paid link (a website didn’t pay someone to link to them in an article, for example). What if the link is truly an organic, natural link? How do you figure out how much it costs to build that link? Then, if you have 100 natural links, how much are those links worth? You know, if you were to put a dollar figure on them.

Value of Websites and Domain Names

One of the services that I provide, among other SEO and domain name consulting services, is a website valuation service. I’ve provided quite a few of these over the years, and the value of a website and a domain name (or just the domain name) can include a lot of different factors, such as:

  • Age of Domain Name
  • Prior Use of Domain Name
  • Current use of domain and website
  • Profitability of the website (how much does it make after all costs are paid, such as hosting, content creation, advertising, etc.)
  • Cost to create the content.
  • Cost to build the links to the site
  • Cost to get current rankings and traffic to site.
  • Cost to build the current email list associated with the site.
  • Cost to build the current number of social media followers.

The Average Value of a Link

There are a lot of factors that ultimately come into play when putting a value on a website or an online business. But one of the factors that’s been a mystery for a lot of people has been the value of links. It’s certainly a controversial subject, and many do have their opinions. I’ve come up with a basic formula that is based on the authority of a link, as well as how much, on average, it costs to replace that link, or how much it costs to create or get a link. Here’s one way that you can put a dollar figure on the links to a website, assuming that all of the links are unpaid, organic, natural links. No one paid anything for the links.

A Link Value Formula

Let’s take, for example, a value that has been assigned by a third party, Majestic.com, which is truly unbiased when they do their calculation of the Trust Flow and Citation Flow of a link. You can’t pay Majestic to get a higher Trust Flow or a lower Citation Flow number, so that’s what I mean here. That’s why I use Majestic.com for this particular formula.

The formula calculation basically goes like this:

  1. Put a value on the highest Trust Flow link, the best link pointing to the site.
  2. Put a value on the average Trust Flow of all of the links.
  3. Remove all of the 0 Trust Flow links from the list of links, as they don’t have any value.
  4. Remove all of the sitewide or “tags links” or “auto generated/archived” links.
  5. Take the value of the Trust Flow of each link and subtract the Citation Flow from that amount.
  6. Take the final values of each link, add them up, and you’ll have the value of all links.

To explain this in actual numbers, then let’s look at an example. Let’s say the website has two links. The site has one link from a TF 40 page with a CF of 10. The site also has a link from a TF 20 page with a CF of 10.

It would take $200 to get that TF 40 CF 10 link, but it has a CF of 10, so let’s say it’s $190 total.

It would then take $100 to get the TF 20 CF 10 link, but it has a CF of 10, so let’s say it’s a $90 link.

So, total, if the website has two links, then it would be $190 + $90 in link value. The value of the links to the site is $280 total.

If we want to take it one step further we’d add in a value for the age of the links, as well. So, let’s say it’s a link that’s been there for 1 year. Well, that link isn’t as valuable as a link that’s been there 10 years. You could calculate the factor of 1 per year, so if those $280 in links were there 10 years, then one could consider the value to be $2800 for the two links. Or you could then cut that amount in half.

But in most website valuation cases, we don’t know exactly how long a link has been around–we have a crawl date of when Majestic.com first saw a link, but that’s not necessarily when the link first existed. So, it’s up to you whether or not you want to include link age as a value or not. Other factors that would come into play here is your gut feeling of what a certain link is worth. The links that have the higher Trust Flow are, in fact, hard to get in most cases. They’re earned links. They’re more valuable by nature. So, if you’re using a spreadsheet to calculate the valuation of links (like I do in most cases), then some of the values will be manually adjusted. They just have to be. Here’s an example of a row in a spreadsheet:

TF :: CF :: $Value :: $Value-CF :: $Final Value
40 :: 20 :: $200 :: $200-20 :: $180

In cases where websites have thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of links (over a million?), and we’re putting a value on a website, you have to come up with a value. This is an example of what I use, and sometimes a variation of it, depending on how much data is available.

Additional Steps to Value Links

The above formula is one way to start to put a value on how much it would take to build a link. The typical cost to build a link in today’s market, not necessarily what the link is actually worth. If you’d like to take this one step further, there ways to do it. I spoke with Dixon Jones, and he added some additional thoughts on the formula:

The Trust Flow (TF) of the page should be divided by the total number of links on the page (technically all links, including those on other pages on the site). That changes the dynamics, but if we still believe in PageRank…

If we still believe that PageRank is still in play here (that Google still used PageRank or a similar version of PageRank to value links), then the Trust Flow of the page should be divided by the total number of links on the page. This adds another “step” in the formula, and should be added if you’re going to put a $ dollar (or pound) figure on each link.